Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Appreciation Award of Excellence from Sharkbytes of My Quality Day

I cannot say how honored I feel to receive this award from my friend, Sharkbytes at My Quality Day.  For those of you who may not be familiar with her blog, she writes about various topics but much of her focus is on nature and the outdoors.  Recently, she did a series about her week
long mission trip to Haiti back in 1985 which I found so interesting.  Besides me, she gave this award to nine other outstanding bloggers so please go to her site to read about them and check out their blogs.

Along with the award, I am supposed to tell you about ten things that make me happy.  I'm sure you all have heard me grumble so much in the year since I lost my job, you're wondering if ANYTHING is capable of bringing a smile to my face but I do feel happy about much in my world.


-1:   My three sons - Shawn, 39, Alex, 27, and Jeremy, 25.  I've blogged about them in the past
       and, occasionally they give me a wee bit of grief, but, really, they are about as perfect as
       any children can be - and they always have been.  I raised them pretty much alone, except
       for the help of Elmira, with whom I couldn't have managed.  Financially, it was difficult, at
       times, but I was fortunate to have a very good forensic nursing position with the city and
       county of San Francisco until the massive budget cuts one year ago.

Jeremy ( before his Locks for Love donation, Shawn and Alex )

-2.  Cruising - I love being at sea and, during my 21 years of working as a forensic nurse for
       San Francisco, it was one of the few times, I could really relax, feel at peace, no beeper
       hanging somewhere on my body, get a comfortable night's sleep and travel all over the
       world without having to pack and unpack.  In the last 15 years, I've done 77 cruises with
       Royal Caribbean, all over the world.  When I first started cruising, I hated sea days and
       wanted to be in port every day.  With maturity, I've come to love the transatlantic crossings,
       with six days at sea, to walk on the deck, under the stars at night and, even on twelve
       day Mediterranean cruises, I like a day at sea in between ports!  Crew give their all to make
       you feel pampered and I leave the ships feeling renewed and ready to tackle whatever may
       come my way.

View from my cabin on the Rhapsody of the Seas

-3.  Living in the San Francisco area - those who follow my blog know what this city means to
       me.  I've been in love with her since I first visited when I was 18-years-old and, at 65, though
       I know there are problems here, I still see her charm and beauty.  When Sony Holland sings
       that beautiful song, "On a San Francisco High," penned by her talented husband, Jerry
       Holland, I almost feel it was written for me.  Sony Holland Sings "On a San Francisco High".

View of San Francisco from Sausalito with a visiting European yacht passing through

-4.  The Queens - Several years ago, three of my beloved forensic nurse pals, Claire, Madeline,
       and Sherry, who often cruise and travel together, formed a group on Royal Caribbean's
       Monarch of the Seas and called ourselves "the Queens."  The crew always treated us like
       queens and we really went overboard ( not literally ).  We acquired various crowns - tiaras,
       crown t-shirts, earrings and various jewelry, lovely queen goblets from which to drink our
       wine, etc.  Gradually, we inducted a few more select queens - Diana, Diane and Jeannie -
       into the Royal Family.  We always have the most wonderful time when we are together,
       especially on cruise ships and people are always inquiring of the crew, "Who are those

Claire, Madeline, Carmen, and Sherry ( I think that is Queen-to-be Jeannie on the side )

-5.   The ocean - I enjoy living so close to the ocean.  Since I moved to San Francisco, I've never
        been more than five miles from the Pacific or the Bay.  I've seen it in all of its moods.   I've

        also been to many of the oceans and seas of the world - the Atlantic, the Caribbean, the
        Gulf of Mexico, the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, the Baltic, the Adriatic and many
        more.  The shores they touch, the people I've met, the cultures I've experiences, the
        countries I've seen - all fill me with happiness.

-6.  Good food - I have been so fortunate in my lifetime to have traveled over much of the earth
       and to have eaten at some really wonderful restaurants. I have tried all kinds of excellent
       and superb wines and beverages.  It has been such an honor to be invited into the
       homes of people in countries where I have visited.  I have so many special memories.

The wonderful grilled seafood platter at Medulio in Barcelona

Breakfast at the Royal Oak Hotel in Shiga, Japan

My appetizer plate, 65th birthday, Orso 80, Rome, Italy

The famous garlic crab at Crustacean in San Francisco

-7.  Crawling into a bed with freshly laundered sheets - nothing feels quite so good as this,
       especially after a hard day at work. 

-8.  Massage - if I could afford it, I would have one every day.  Unfortunately, the last one I had
      was when I visited my mother in Columbus, GA in November - I had two then, thanks to Jen,
      the daughter of my high school friends.  I have chronic back problems and, now, arthritis is
      causing me to have increased joint pain so I would love to be able to indulge myself.  With
      retirement, it just isn't affordable - and I have no partner to pamper me.  Ah, to be able to go
      back to Bali or Turkey for a massage that cost $10 an hour!  To me, nothing is so luxurious
      and therapeutic.

-9.  Flowers - I seldom get flowers but they always cheer me up, whether I see them in the
       landscape or they are delivered to my door.  I always love going home to GA in the spring
       when the dogwoods and azaleas are in riotous bloom and wysteria is hanging from arbors
       and fences, scenting the air with such fragrant perfume.

Two dozen roses, champagne and wine from captain and hotel director on a recent cruise

Tulips at Butchart Gardens, British Columbia

-10.  My special friends -
         *Camilla Arthur, who I've known since 9th grade and boarding school at Sacred Academy.
          Through our 51 years, our paths have crossed time and again and she remains a dear
         *Luther Stanton and his wife, Beth - I did a blog about him...we've known each other
           since high school and, except for his hair which is turning white, he seems like the same
           crazy, sweet guy he was fifty years ago.  Beth is wonderful .
         *Martha Genin, my nursing school classmate, who became my best friend, my maid of
           honor and my oldest son's godmother.  Somewhere along the way, we grew distant for
           about fifteen years but, thankfully, we are stronger friends now than ever.
          *Patty Crane - a forensic nurse friend who abandoned California and moved away,
            getting her PhD, but always remaining there for me.
           *Brenda Garison - a forensic nurse in Beaumont, Texas who has my utmost admiration
            for her work with abused children.  She has traveled often with me and our memories of
            our massage in Turkey forever bring me to laughter.
            *Phil Zaragoza - one of the two best social workers in San Francisco and a wonderful
             friend who has also been a traveling companion and support.
            *Silvia Solorzano - the other best social worker in San Francisco, who worked with me
             years ago at SF Rape Treatment, a champion of women, a great traveling companion.
            *Maggie Hewitt - a wonderful nurse practitioner friend who worked with me at SF Rape
              treatment and became "beta mom" to my boys.  She slept on my couch every time she
              was on call and I missed her so much when our jobs ended and she moved to Santa
            *Sally Thresher - a brilliant nurse practitioner and forensic nurse, my boss briefly, who
              left San Francisco.  She is one of the smartest women I ever met.
            *Elaine Martin - my sister, almost, who worked with me at both SF Rape Treatment and
              CASARC.  I miss her so much since our job ended.  She has been such a support to
              me over the years and I love her dearly.  We always wanted to travel together but never
              could since we always covered for each other to be away!

Now the other thing that I must do is give this award to some other deserving blogsters.  I hope you will check out their sites and say hello.  Please copy The Appreciation Award from my page and follow through with listing ten things that make you happy and make the award to people you feel are deserving.

-1.  Kary at My Farmhouse Kitchen has a blog that reflects her love of cooking, gardening and
       photography.  She has had cooking classes from some of the greats in northern California
       ( she is a "great" herself ).  I wish I had know her the two years my youngest was studying
       at Cal Poly but I'm going to meet her anyway when I'm down that way for a conference!

-2.  Jo at Poetic Shutterbug has an outstanding blog which reflects her diverse interest in
       travel, photography, writing and poetry and music.  She is a friend and was instrumental in
       getting me started on blogging.  I am sure that, sometimes, she wishes she hadn't
       encouraged me!

-3.  Icy BC at Dances of Dreams brings amazing photography to the blogworld, even in
      winter's bleakest days.  Her trips to the Belle Isle Conservatory always result in the most
      beautiful floral photography.  She writes beautiful poety and also has two other blogs,

-4.  Jenny at Jenny on a tangent has us all busy with a Thursday alphabet meme.
      Her blog is always fun as she writes about her life, a birthday party for her 80-year-old father,
      her weiner dog slurping up her cereal when she set the bowl down beside the tub so she 
      could shampoo her hair - what, doesn't everyone eat cereal in the bathtub?

-5.  Kamana at Jounalling Through Photos shares with us beautiful photography and her 
       thoughts from the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.  I always enjoy seeing the beautiful 
       scenery in a place so far away from the rush hour traffic and fast pace of life in California.



  1. Carman! I just discovered you have a blog! :)
    Wonderful post but I'm not to keen on that Japanese breakfast! XOXO

  2. oh thank you! That is so sweet, carmen! and it gives me something to post about today as i am running low on inspiration. thanks again.

  3. this is a long list of friends.........i know there are a lot but the space must have filled up..... :)

    many reasons to be happy here.....

    congrats for the award......may u get the coming month...\,,/

  4. Your Sons are Gorgeous!!! I'll have to stop in on your blogger buddies sites! Have a great day!

  5. Carmen, you've led a very interesting life...especially your culinary life...I'm afraid I'm not nearly that adventurous. Nevertheless, if I were lucky enough to find myself with you in such interesting surroundings, I would certainly give it all a try.

    ps Whoever was the recipient of Jeremy's lovely locks surely got a beautiful head of curls.

  6. My dear sweet kind and thoughtful to think of're a dear....

    i read every word of your happy sure have seen the world...i really enjoyed getting to know more about you...

    i come from a' medical field family" too...since you were a nurse i thought you would be interested in knowing that my dad was a general surgeon here in SLO for nearly 30 years..retired now...and my cousin was an e.r. nurse for many years at French hospital here in SLO. Her and I are the same age...52.
    Since you know medicine i will also tell you i lost my mom to pancreatic cancer august of 2006...and i know you know how horrible that is....

    i'll work on my 10 happy things beginning of the week..we have a super bowl party to go to in a little....

    Oh, and I LOVED seeing S.F. my FAVORITE city...would i LOVE to live's my secret dream.....

    thanks again, my sweet
    sending love,

  7. Carmen, you have lived many lives. We are all envious of your many cruises. Yeah! And congratulations on your fabulous and most deserved award.

    YOu are a generous and most amicable soul.

  8. Anonymous4:02 PM

    Thank you Carmen for the award! Congrats to you!

    Your pictures are gorgeous, and delicious..

  9. Caremen--first, such handsome and good sons -you are blessed and second--I have never been on a cruise and will gladly hire you on as a consultant given your experience when I decide to take the plunge--great post--c

  10. Oh Carmen! Check out that crown! Woot girl!!!! :D

    And who's the son with the sexy hair.... ayayay... :D (hehehehehehehehe)

    Congratulations on your award! And poo on you for not passing it on to me! :p :p :p



  11. Carol@ Writer's Porch/Book House -
    I started blogging in mid-September as a way to stay sane ( not sure it's helping )! Thanks for
    joining as a follower. Believe me, that Japanese breakfast was wonderful - so many different dishes, each tasty.

    kamana -
    I always enjoy your blog - sometimes very exotic
    things get posted.

    hitest rawat -
    by the time one has reached 65, many friend have
    come and gone in your life. I could have listed more but these were some of the ones that really
    stand out!

    Donna -
    I do think my boys are pretty handsome. Thanks for the compliment.

    steviewren -
    I really grew to love Jeremy's long hair. I kind of miss it. I do hope the one who got those curls really appreciates them!

    My Farmhouse Kitchen -
    You are, indeed, immersed in medicine! How sad about your mom. Pancreatic cancer is the worst.
    I was so happy the Saints won the Superbowl...I went to nursing school in New Orleans.

    lakeviewer -
    I do, indeed, enjoy cruising but I think with retirement, and the loss of income, I may not get to cruise again. I'm glad I have lots of photos and memories.

    Icy BC -
    you are so deserving of the award. Now let me see ten happy things!

    C.M.Jackson -
    My boys are the best...and, just let me know when you are ready to cruise, I'll be full of advice!

    c -
    Jeremy had the curls but no more. My hair never looked that good. I know you'll get an award one of these days!

  12. Anonymous5:13 PM

    Concratulations upon this very well deserved award. Please have a nice Tuesday. And it was for sure of interest to read.

  13. I know, I know it's Jeremy and I know he has a gf (from reading an earlier post of yours)... but I just had to comment like that... woot! ;-)

    Who needs a husband when you've got gorgeous sons, eh??? ;-)

  14. Congratulations.
    You are good for the prize.

    It is very appetizing food.